Secret Lives Book Tour, Part Three: Albuquerque, Jersey Shore, Philadelphia, and Seattle Again

What a long, but awesome road, it's been! My third and final leg of book tour supporting The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts has come to a close, and if you have a few minutes (of course you do, you're on the internet! It's leisuretime here!) I'd love to tell you about my adventures.

(P.S. If you want to read about the first two parts of my book tour, here's part one, and here's part two!)

First was an event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Don't you just love saying the word "Albuquerque"? I had an event at a bookstore called Bookworks, where my NAME WAS FEATURED ON A BIG MARQUEE. This was a great life moment, but even better was the fact that almost the entire audience was composed of people who work in the film industry in New Mexico. It made for a wonderful and varied crowd!

Next up was a trip to the Jersey Shore. Now, a trip to this part of the world is always dear to me because it's where I grew up, but it was especially wonderful this time because I had a book event close to my hometown. It was at a wonderful little bookstore called Booktowne in Manasquan, New Jersey, and I was delighted to see a nice-sized crowd of people who came, including some former high school classmates who happened to be in town and read about the event!

I also served some Smith Island Cake, which is never a bad thing. Did I mention they sold out of books? That made me feel like a Jersey Shore Superstar. 

Next up, on the same day, was a book event at a bookstore called Towne Book Center in Collegeville, PA (yes, I had an event at Booktowne then at Towne Book Center, one after the other). This was a super fun event because it was a dessert potluck, where everyone brought something sweet and we all got to taste it--then, everyone told us the story behind theirs. I tasted some really good stuff, AND got a really exciting Congo Bar recipe from one of the entrants that I can't wait to try out.

But one of the biggest highlights? Brett and Christina, both contestants from last year's Pillsbury Bake-Off, were in attendance! So we had a mini Bake-Off reunion. How cool is that? Christina won last year (winning recipe here!), so she's got a million reasons not to be at the contest this year. But I was so excited to hear that Brett (here's his entry from last year) will be a finalist again this year, with another delicious-sounding dessert called Heavenly Hazelnut Torte with Mascarpone Cream

That was a great event!

But that wasn't all to the Pennsylvania leg of tour. I also taught a baking class in Philadelphia, at a fine establishment called COOK. I wore a hot pink dress and had a great time teaching people how to make Smith Island Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, and Alice B Toklas Truffles (Toke-less ones, you know). 

Then, I had about a week to rest and hang out at my house. I spent that time wisely, making milk fudge and learning how to make overnight French toast. I also made homemade croutons for the first time, which is ridiculously rewarding. Yumsies.

Then, I hopped a flight back to Seattle for a few more book events.

Hellooooo, Seattle! I was picked up by my sweet friend Nicole (bloggy persona: So Suzette) who is also the person I went to eat with at Wandering Goose Cafe the next morning. I got something called "Big Trouble" which consisted of a warm biscuit with honey, banana, and lots of peanut butter. It was. So. Good. Just looking at it should tell you that this is a biscuit that means business.

The same day, I did a baking demo at the Tom Douglas Summer Camp. This was probably the best demo I had ever done. Now, the fact that they gave me a glass of wine before my demo made me (in my opinion) even funnier than usual, and the crew was GREAT. We talked a lot about Nanaimo bars, which was one of the demo items. Smith Island Cake and Toklas Truffles, too. 

The next day, I had off, so I hung around Seattle and went to Crumble & Flake with my friends Laurie, Iris, and Matthew (they also happen to be a family). Actually, Matthew was on his way to do some book touring of his own, for his new e-book, Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo . It is about his family's eating adventures in Tokyo. You probably need it. Don't you love the cover? Well, don't judge it by the cover! Cos the writing is even better. 

Our pastries were also awesome. I got the kouign amann.

Kouign amann

I also picked up some macarons to bring to the great staff at my publisher, Sasquatch Books. They liked me pretty well that day, I'd say.

I was then summoned back by the Tom Douglas people--apparently, this night was their closing party, and Tom himself needed a karaoke partner. I was happy to make a repeat performance! Here we are together, to prove it really happened.

The song we sung, by the way? "People who need people". Yep. 

There was still more awesome to come in Seattle, though. The next day I had a sweet signing at Mrs. Cook's in the University Village, and got to meet a bunch of cool people there. And I brought brownies from the book...

Whew! After that, I was pretty tired, but there was still more to do! I had a booth at the Urban Craft Uprising on both Saturday and Sunday, where I sold books, cards, and products. I left with fistfuls of money and good memories, and got to see my buddies Kristen of Schmancy and Rosalie of Ugly Baby and Kari Chapin, genius writer of many books.

And guess who else came to say hi? PEABODY! Of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody! My baking hero! She always makes me smile.

It was a great fair!

I got a tasty dessert with my friends Nicole and Ramon after the fair one of the nights...delicious Cupcake Royale ice cream! 

Craft fair, LA

Monday morning after the fair, I hopped a plane and flew out of Seattle. Then, I headed for Los Angeles! There, I was a vendor at the Renegade Craft Fair, where I also sold my books. 

Cornflake oatmeal cookie, sprinkles, LA

There, I saw many LA buddies and (hooray!) got to visit the Sprinkles cupcake ATM. The line was really long though, so I got ice cream instead. Their ice cream is good--the cookies they use for ice cream sandwiches are awesome.

Pie Hole, LA

I also went, on reader Zita's suggestion, to The Pie Hole, where I got their version of a Pop-tart. This thing was good, even though it cost as much as a box of pop-tarts! 

Vici Victuals cookies

I also had the good fortune of sharing a craft fair booth with Vici Victual, a cookie baking business that is seriously awesome. The cookies may look like normal cookies, but the taste is extraordinary. Soft, but firmer on the edges (not quite crisp. I like soft so this was good for me). Beautifully balanced flavor. Seek them out in LA--they're at craft fairs and the like. 

Thank you to everyone who bought my book, came to my book tour events, and generally made my life sweeter.

And in case you missed the book here! The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts! And don't forget to buy my first book too, Cakespy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life!

The Story of Animal Crackers

Animal crackers

CakeSpy Note: Sometimes, I like doing sweet things for you, readers. And so I decided to share an inside look at one of my favorite stories--and recipes!--from my new book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts. This tale is all about animal crackers. Enjoy! 

“Animal crackers and cocoa to drink that is the finest of suppers I think; when I am grown up and have what I please I think I shall always insist upon these.”

—Actor and writer Christopher Morley

Everyone loves those curious animal-shaped cookies that pack a crunch and are called “crackers.” But how is it that these proud little animals began marching their way into our mouths and hearts?

Well. The custom of crafting cookies that resemble creatures is nothing new— as early as the 1600s in Germany, bakers were making sweet treats resembling savage beasts. But it wasn’t until the 1800s that the wheels began to turn, set- ting off the chain reaction that made these sweet crackers a snacking staple. For this we owe a thank-you to the industrial revolution: that’s when biscuits, cookies, and crackers began to be manufactured in factories.

In Victorian England, “crisp biscuits”—that’s sweet, cracker-like cookies, to Americans— were very popular. Some of these biscuits were shaped like animals. A hint of things to come was evident when Zoologicals, animal-shaped cook- ies made by Philadelphia baker Walter G. Wilson, were sold at the Centennial Exposition of 1876—the first world’s fair in America. (This pivotal event yielded many innovations, including the introduction of the Dewey Decimal system, the ice cream soda, and the grand debut of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, before it was affixed to the rest of her body in New York City.)

After acquiring two New York City bakeries that produced animal-shaped biscuits, the National Biscuit Company (later Nabisco) began producing animal-shaped biscuits on a commercial scale which allowed for widespread distribution.

Animal Crackers

Serendipitously, this timing coincided with P. T. Barnum’s growing reputation as an international showman and circus owner. Perhaps sensing a sales opportunity, several companies had begun marketing foods of all sorts with circus-themed packaging, and these biscuits were a natural tie-in. The National Biscuit Company did it most famously, with their 1902 debut of the animal-shaped crackers. Marketed as a specialty holiday item, they were sold in a small box resembling a circus cage with a handle at the top, for displaying as an ornament.

The crackers proved so popular that they were soon being produced year-round, the ornament string promoted as an easy way for children to transport the cookies. In 1948, they were renamed Barnum’s Animal Crackers, which is what they’re still called today. But for all the glittering success of the Barnum associa- tion, the circus man did not receive payment for the use of his name: according to an article in the Washington Post, he never got a cent for the crackers.

Ready for a recipe? Here's an adaptation of the one in the book. For more sweet stories and recipes, buy the book: The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts.

Homemade Animal Crackers (Printable version here)

Makes about 6 dozen


  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3⁄4 cup (1 1⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to cool room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, stirring until combined.
  3. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Form the dough into 2 disks and wrap well with plastic; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Chilling the dough will ensure that the shapes hold once cut out and that the dough will not spread too much during baking.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  6. Allow the cookie dough to warm slightly at room temperature before rolling it. On a floured work surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1⁄4 inch thick. Use small animal-shaped cut- ters to cut the dough (of course, other small cutters will work, too). Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Gather up the dough scraps and re-roll to make more cookies. Leave a small amount of room around each cookie to allow for spreading. If desired, you can use toothpicks to enhance the details on the animals, or add faces.
  7. Let the cookies chill (on the baking sheets) in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. This will ensure even further that the dough retains any details you’ve added.
  8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes ,or until firm, just lightly brown on the edges, and with a dull finish on top. Let cool on the pan for several minutes, then transfer to a flat surface (they may fall through a wire rack) to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

And in closing:

Per Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, children across America tend to “nibble away at the animals in definite order of dismem- berment: back legs, forelegs, head, and lastly the body.”

Upcoming Book Events: Seattle!

Cuppies at the West Seattle Junction

Oh, Seattle! My former hometown, and one of the sweetest places I know. Home to delicious cupcakes, delicious ice cream (sometimes at the same place!), and delicious buttermilk biscuits

And for the next nearly-a-week, home again for me, too! 

Here's what I'll be up to, and I hope I'll see you at one of these sweet events to support my book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts!

First up, we've got a meet and greet at Mrs. Cook's, a wonderful cookery supply store in the University Village (there is a Trophy Cupcakes nearby, too!). Please, come and buy a copy (or 10) of my book and I'll sign them for you! 

Cuppie at Trophy Cupcakes, Seattle

Signing at Mrs. Cook's

  • Date: Friday, July 12
  • Time: 1-3 p.m.
  • Location: Mrs. Cooks, University Village. More info here!


Milk and Cookie in Seattle

Then, over the weekend, I will be selling my artwork (and copies of both of my books!) at the Urban Craft Uprising. I'll have a Square reader so I can take credit cards, too! Sweet!

Urban Craft Uprising


Cuppie at the Seattle Art Museum

Hope to see you this week, Seattle Sweeties! If not, feel free to buy my book online--it's waiting for you: The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts. 

Secret Lives Tour, Part Two

Anthropologie signing

Part two of my book tour supporting The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Desserts is now complete! Philadelphia and were great!

Now, if you're curious about what happened on the first leg, check out this post; for still-upcoming dates, look at the left side bar of this site! 

Now, let me tell you about what I saw, what I did, and very importantly, what I ate on leg 2 of the tour, in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Chicago.

First, I headed down to New Jersey. I didn't have an event here but I was staying with my parents, and using their kitchen to bake treats for the Anthropologie book signing in Philadelphia. I made three batches of Katharine Hepburn Brownies from the book. I had a little assembly line going!

Philadelphia - Anthropologie

Philadelphia - Anthropologie

Oh, yum. Then, we packed up the car and went to Philadelphia. I was greeted by this sign...I felt pretty cool...

Anthropologie signing

Here I am getting out of the car and getting ready to share brownies and fun!

Anthropologie signing

Wow, what an amazing event! Not only was it excellently attended, but there were brownies and prosecco. Lots of prosecco.

Anthropologie signing

The crowd was enthusiastic and we had a lot of fun!

Anthropologie signing

Here I am with my big sister Kelly.Anthropologie signing

I also got some unexpected treats at the signing. Bredenbeck's sent over some cookies just for me...


and (big hero moment!) Zoe (there's an umlaut in her name, but I can't find the symbol on my computer) from Whipped Bakeshop came, too! For an example of how awesome she is, just look at one of her cakes:

and Ginny of LivyLu's Gourmet brought some treats, too!


This was a signing that just made me feel great to be alive. Thank you, Anthropologie!

Anthropologie signing

Let's just say I slept well that night, and it was a good thing, because I had to get up pretty bright and early to head to Chicago!

On my way to the airport, I had a surprisingly tasty (considering its healthy status!) cookie called the "Shazaam", purchased in Spring Lake Heights.

Shazaam cookie

Next stop...Chicago! My reading was actually in Vernon Hills, but I had some time to spend in the Windy City beforehand. I made good use of it.

I popped in an Anthropologie store in Chicago...and guess what they had? My book! yay!

Chicago - Anthropologie

My first stop for sweets in Chicago was Glazed and Infused. You can read more about my visit there if you read this post, but suffice it to say I left fat and happy and SO excited to have finally met my (until now, online-only) friend James. 

Glazed and Infused

Next, I headed over to Swirlz Cupcakes. Wow, Pam of Swirlz is so supportive! She had a little altar to me out to make me smile and share my work with her customers! AND she was kind enough to donate cupcakes for my event later that day.

Swirlz Cupcakes

Here's a picture of me with owner Pam!

Me and Pam of Swirlz

Before I headed to Vernon Hills, I simply had to drop by to say hi to my friend Stephanie, owner of Angel Food Bakery. She has the same birthday as me, and she bakes cupcakes. What's not to love? We chatted and I picked up a few treats, including a brownie and a flourless chocolate cake. For later.

Angel Food Bakery

Then I headed to the Aspen Drive Library! I was greeted by this beautiful sign:

Vernon hills signing

And then got to unpacking the sweets from Swirlz!

Vernon Hills, IL


Putting together this stand was easier said than done, but we figured it out (yes, it took more people than just me).

Vernon Hills, IL

I had a great talk with a large audience at the library, and Lake Forest Book Store was on hand to sell copies of my book. Here I am doing my reading--don't I look like a kindergarten teacher?

An especially meaningful guest was my friend Sandy, who drove all the way from Milkwaukee. I miss this girl! We were able to have dinner and catch up. <3

Now, I know you're concerned that I'm getting enough calories, so I am happy to tell you that I was able to make one more sweet stop before I left the next morning, to pick up a cinnamon glazed old-fashioned doughnut at Do-Rite Donuts. Whew!

Do-rite donuts

Do-Rite Donuts

By the way, it wasn't til that night that I got to one of my other goodies from Angel Food Bakery, the brownie. Hold on to your hats, sweeties. It might look like just a brownie, but it is nothing ordinary once it's in your mouth. It's fudge-filled chocolate overload decadence awesometown, the experience of eating this brownie. I think they're some of the best in the nation!

Angel Food Bakery Brownie

Whew! So glad to have had these awesome tour times, but I'm happy to be home, too! See you next time, sweeties!

Places Mentioned:

Anthropologie, multiple locations; online here.

Bredenbeck's, 8126 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia; online here.

LivyLu's Gourmet; online here.

Whipped Bakeshop, 636 Belgrade Street, Philadelphia; online here.

Nature's Corner Natural Market, 2407 Hwy 71, Spring Lake Heights NJ; online here.

Glazed and Infused, multiple locations in Chicago; online here.

Swirlz Cupcakes, 705 W. Belden, Chicago; online here.

Angel Food Bakery, 1636 Montrose, Chicago; online here.

Aspen Drive Library, Vernon Hills, IL; online here.

Lake Forest Bookstore; online here.

Do-Rite Donuts, 50 W. Randolph Street, Chicago; online here.

Secret Lives Tour, Part One

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Hello, sweet ones! 

Well, the first leg of my second book tour for  The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Dessertsis now complete (remaining dates here! And a contest to win a copy HERE!). And oh, has it ever been sweet! Here's a mini review of who I saw, what I ate, and what magical things happened.


I arrived in Seattle on the day my book was officially released, May 7th. Woohoo! I basically went straight to the reading venue, which was the University Bookstore. The event was co-hosted by the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, who brought cookies and offered a sweet discount on the book for all girl scouts (including former girl scouts!). Why Girl Scouts? Well, the book tells the story of the cookies! 

It was a fun event--to say the least!

The next morning...I woke up hungry.

Wandering Goose Cafe

I went to the Wandering Goose Cafe, new since I left Seattle. Man, was this place wonderful. They prominently feature biscuits, one of my favorite foodstuffs. I got a biscuit, of course, and a few other items. The standout on this visit? The "Charlie Brown" cookie, a deep, dark chocolate cookie studded with peanut butter chips. Oh yum. 


Book Larder

I recorded a radio program next, with Rachel Belle. She is so cool!

Next, I had an event at Book Larder where I demo'ed Better Than Sex Cake (it's in the book!). This was an awesome time. I saw many cake celebrities. 

Book Larder

One of the attendees? Dani of High 5 Pie. And she brought me some treats!

Related: The next A.M., I started out with a cherry almond pie from High 5 Pie.

 High 5 pie

and then I baked some Katharine Hepburn brownies (recipe's in the book) for an upcoming TV appearance in Portland. And then I headed to Portland!

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Even though it's kind of a silly flight because the security line is usually longer than the flight...I flew. With the brownies. Here are the brownies on my lap. They were so cradled and loved.Brownies in Transit


Once I arrived, I enjoyed some non-sweet food and hung out with my fella. Then, in the morning, I was on TV. Before my appearance, in the Green Room, I reviewed my book with Haley, the publicity all-star for my book.

Me and Haley

Then, I was on TV! You can watch the segment here. And here's a little behind the scenes look at the script.

 Show Notes

Look, here I am acting casual (not) in front of the tv station!

TV studio

Next was breakfast at Tasty N Sons (actually, if you want to get technical, Tasty N Alder). I got some prunes that were prepared with cheese. I know this doesn't sound like a glamorous food, but WOW! were they good! The prunes were nice and sweet but the cheese gave them a little savory saltiness.

Prunes and toast

Speaking of was about time for a visit to the deservedly famous Salt and Straw! Have I mentioned they sell my artwork there?

Salt and Straw

Now, it is a true fact that my artwork looks better when you gaze at it with a hefty scoop of Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache ice cream. Yes indeed.

Ice cream and artwork

But you know, the world is not so bad with a milkshake, either, so we picked up one of those, too. In chocolate.

Salt and straw shake

Of course, nothing can warm you up for a doughnut snack better than ice cream, so we started heading on over to Tonalli's Donuts.

But--uh oh--on the way we were distracted by Pine State Biscuits

Biscuit from Pine State

We kept on walking, and I found a heart. This is a great opportunity to show you how cute the shoes are that I was wearing.

Love my new shoes!

Finally, to Tonalli's!

Donut or Doughnut? Actually, the sign says both. Donut or Doughnut

Confusion aside, how could anything ever go wrong in a place like this? Tonalli's Donuts

We got an old fashioned blueberry glazed, and a plain old fashioned.

Blueberry Donut, Tonalli's

Very good stuff. Especially the blueberry. Not completely because of the flavor, but largely because of texture. The glaze kept it somewhat soft, whereas with the unglazed one, it got kind of crispy. Still very good, though.

Old Fashioned Donut, Tonalli's

Later that evening, we had to try Ruby Jewel, which was near the hotel. I got one of their famous ice cream sandwiches with bourbon butter pecan ice cream between chocolate chip cookies. Trust me, there is nothing wrong with that package. The Ruby Jewel ice cream is different than Salt and Straw, but I think very good. The Ruby Jewel ice cream has a longer, lingering creaminess, whereas with Salt and Straw it hits you right away: mega creamy! Both different styles. I like them both, a LOT. 

Now, I need to ask something too, because my guy got two scoops of ice cream with chocolate sauce and called it a "sundae". For me, this does not a sundae make--it has to have more toppings. What do you think?

Ruby Jewel

Ruby Jewel

The next morning, I did a yoga class (I KNOW) and there happened to be a cafe attached to the yoga center called Prasad.

Yoga Pearl

If you're in Portland and like raw, vegan, gluten free (in some cases, all three) baked goods--hit this place up. 

Of course, if you prefer your sweets full of gluten and better yet fried, hit up nearby Blue Star Donuts. I have a lot to say about this place, so if you want to know more, look at my post about it!

Keep Calm and Eat Donuts Blue Star Donuts

After that, at least a quick trip was needed to Saint Cupcake, a place I really love. Don't you just want to dive into this?

Saint Cupcake

I'd love to show you more photos, but the mini cupcakes purchased were consumed too quickly. 

And then...time to head to...


Hello, San Francisco. I'm hungry!

Unfortunately I did not have a ton of free time in SF. Before my first reading, at Omnivore Books, I was able to hit up a Whole Foods where I got a Ginger Biscuit which actually rather surprised me with how creamy and soft and tasty it was. Baked on site, I was informed.

Ginger Biscuit

And yes, I found time for a chocolate water at Dandelion Chocolate.

The Omnivore Books reading was great. Beforehand, I got to meet up with Hayley of The Domestic Rebel, someone I have wanted to meet for a while. And my friends Erin and Renee came to the reading!

Omnivore Books

The next day, upon the suggestion of readers at the previous signing, I hit up Bob's Donuts. It's open 24 hours, and it looks like it's been there forever. They have some huge donuts but I stayed classic. They are straight-up old fashioned non-fussy donuts. They made me so happy.

Bob's Donuts

I headed over to Hayes Valley, where I indulged in my favorite guilty chain pleasure, the almond croissant from La Boulange.

And I maybe found 15 minutes or so to lounge in the grass. Park life

Then...time for another reading! I went to Book Passage this time, a magical place if ever there was one. The staff is SO friendly!

I got to meet up with my friend Anna too. She's kind of a big deal - her first cover story for SF Weekly was just published!

The next AM, it was time to head to the airport. I didn't get to visit as many bakeries as I would have liked on this trip, but it was still TOTALLY SWEET. Because I tend toward good manners, I sent out thank-yous today:

Thank you notes

Yay! I can't wait til leg 2 - I still have a few more dates left on the tour! You can find them here.

Places Mentioned: 

University Bookstore, 4326 University Way NE; online here.

Wandering Goose Cafe, 403 15th Ave. E, Seattle; online here.

High 5 Pie, 1400 12th Ave, Seattle; online here.

Book Larder, 4252 Fremont Ave N; online here.

Tasty N Sons, Two Locations in Portland, OR; online here.

Salt & Straw, Multiple locations in Portland, OR; online here.

Pine State Biscuits, Multiple locations in Portland, OR; online here.

Tonalli's Donuts, 2805 NE Alberta, Portland OR; on yelp.

Ruby Jewel, 428 SW 12th; online here.

Yoga Pearl - Prasad, 925 NW Davis, Portland OR; online here.

Saint Cupcake, multiple locations in Portland, OR; online here.

Blue Star Donuts, 1237 SW Washington Street, Portland OR; online here.

Whole Foods, I went to the one on California Street in SF; online here.

Omnivore Books, 3885 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco CA; online here.

Dandelion Chocolate, 740 Valencia Street, San Francisco; online here.

Bob's Donuts, 1621 Polk Street, San Francisco; on yelp.

La Boulange, multiple locations in San Francisco; online here.

Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco; online here.

Sweet Art: CakeSpy for the Holidays


Probably, you already know all about the total awesome sweetness that is the CakeSpy online store.

But in case you are unaware, I'd like to introduce you to some of the finest holiday items online!

First off, adorable holiday cupcake magnets (pictured above). What a wonderful stocking stuffer!

Next, you definitely need some holiday cards. You could go for a 10-pack assortment:

Or you could just go straight for the best design:

Oh, and by the way, if you wanted to customize your mix, just place an order then send me an email--I am happy to accommodate your request.

Now. You probably also need to buy all of your friends and family members a copy of my book, too. My online store is the only place to buy personalized signed copies--I will draw a unicorn in every copy, and write a sweet message just for you or the recipient!

And also, you have never before seen an online store that has a mug featuring a unicorn and robot eating a banana and banana cream pie, respectively. Or if you have...I'll eat my hat!

And, not to show off, but there are plenty of other awesome things in the store, too. And--OMG--I'm offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $25 through the end of this holiday weekend! Simply use code AWESOME12 to take advantage of this offer. Shop online here.

Cover Up: a CakeSpy Book Cover Outtake

Now, because you own, treasure, and probably cuddle with my book every night, you are well aware of what the cover looks like. If you have forgotten, go ahead and refer to the pretty picture at the top of this post.

But you know, the cover didn't just make itself. I did the illustrations, but then I worked with an amazingly talented art director/designer to make it into the masterpiece it ultimately became.

But here's just a quick peek at one of the images we played with along the way - a fun peek at the process and some of the ideas we worked through and tweaked along the way!, but I am sure glad we kept tweaking it to make the cover that graces the book! Don't forget, you can buy my book here, and don't forget to enter this totally sweet contest inspired by the book! You could win an all expenses paid trip to Seattle to eat cake with me!

Tour de Sweet: CakeSpy Comes to LA!

Sweet Lady Jane, Los angeles

Oh, pardon me while I crank up the volume on Randy Newman's "I Love LA"--because that's where my book tour is taking me in just a few short days!

That's right. My Tour de Sweet 2011 is coming to an end in sunny, glamorous LA (you may remember the last time I was there, for the Emmy Awards?).

I'll be having cake-eating meetups at the following bakeries. Expect low-key, cake and fun (and pun) filled times. You can bring your book, or I will have copies on hand to sell you (I prefer cash but can take visa and mastercard or check too!). I'll even bring some robot-cupcake-unicorn socks to raffle off (and some cards to sell!). At Yummy Cupcakes, I have even offered to do portraits of your favorite dessert in your copy of the book! I will draw your power pastry for you!

Come on down! I don't know a ton of people in Los Angeles (even though LA Weekly loves me) so please come--I promise, I am totally fun to eat cake with!

December 12-15: Los Angeles

Sweet Times at Sweet Cupcakes, Boston


As you probably already know, I have been out of town a lot lately on something magical called Book Tour. This is a journey I've been taking to support my awesome new book CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life, which is conveniently available at Urban Outfitters, Barnes and Noble, and many other fine retailers.

But my book tour has been extra-special, because instead of conducting it at book stores, I've been going to BAKERIES. It's a Tour de Sweet!

And right now, I want to tell you about my first East Coast stop, which was at a magical place called Sweet Cupcakes in Boston. They have a few locations around town; I visited the one on School Street, downtown.

First off, I was greeted by a bevy of beautiful seasonal cupcake flavors in the bakery case:


...but things got far better when they brought out a tray of cupcakes with edible toppers featuring my artwork!


Now, you may think that it being that my artwork was featured on the cupcakes, it might be hard for me to eat them.

But this was not the case. They were freaking delicious. I wish I was eating another one right now.

Moreover, the aesthetic and color scheme in the place couldn't have been more appropriate.


...and as a bonus, I got to hang out with awesome people like Bethany and Tina of Scoopalicious;DSC06577

and my buddy Phuong:


...Phuong is also going down as "favorite person ever"...because she also brought me some Boston Cream Pie from nearby Parker Hotel:


Shani, who collects my rubber stamp designs also came...and was packing her sweet supplies! DSC06576

...and I got to meet Jill of Sugarbird Bakery, who came all the way from Providence! She rules!


My friends Dan and Kelsey also showed up from Rhode Island--making for a sweet treat on an extremely sweet evening. 

And I sold out of books, to boot. Best signing ever!

Visit SWEET when you're in Boston--here's their website!

Cake Byte: CakeSpy at Urban Craft Uprising, December 3 and 4 in Seattle!

Oh, get ready, sweeties.

It's that wonderful time of year when Urban Craft Uprising comes around, and as usual, I will be selling totally sweet stuff at this massive and magic-filled holiday art sale in Seattle.

Here are the details:

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, December 3 and 4, 2011
Times: 11-5 each day
Location: Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, 321 Mercer Street (click here to find it on a map and get directions)

I'll also be doing book signings, and of course will have plenty of books, cards, and art to sell you at my booth.

You can visit the Urban Craft Uprising blog to read an interview with me and enter to win a copy of my book in advance; for more info about the sale and the other awesome vendors, visit!

Tour de Sweet: CakeSpy in Chicago November 18 and 19!

Angel Food Bakery, Chicago

Now, Chicago Sweeties, I don't want you to faint, or die, or go into sugar shock or anything...but I'm coming to town for book tour. And you know you want to buy a copy of my oeuvre, entitled CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-filled Life!

That's right.

And I have two sugar-filled stops on my itinerary.

November 18: First up is Angel Food Bakery. Now, if you've never been to this place, you're in for a treat, or maybe more than one, because they make crack-filled cakes. OK, not really, but they're that addictive. But don't take my word alone for it: it's also one of Bake & Destroy's favorite bakeries in Chicago! 

Details: Friday, November 18, 3-5 p.m. (just leave work early!). Angel Food Bakery, 1636 W. Montrose; online here. Facebook event page here.

Bleeding Heart

November 19: Next up is a sweet stop at Bleeding Heart Bakery (where you can also buy mugs and cards featuring my artwork! Yes!). I will be making this sugar-filled location even sweeter from 11-2 p.m. 

Details: Saturday, November 19, 11 a.m - 2 p.m. Bleeding Heart Bakery, 1955 W. Belmont, Chicago; online here. Facebook event page here.

Hope to see you! But even if you can't make it, enter to win a copy here, or buy a signed copy here.

Tour de Sweet: CakeSpy in New Jersey November 16 and 17!

Garden State? More like Sugar State.
That's right: CakeSpy's Tour de Sweet is coming to New Jersey! I have two totally sweet events coming up on November 16th and 17th, respectively:
But wait, there's more! There will be GIVEAWAYS! I'll have some sweet items to give away, like notecards and maybe even a pair or two of my cupcake-unicorn-robot socks.

Tour de Sweet: CakeSpy in Washington DC on November 15! And a Giveaway!

Guess what, Washington DC? You thought you were sweet, but you're about to get SWEETER.

That's right: CakeSpy's Tour de Sweet is coming to town! As I said on the Facebook event page,

OMG. This is your chance--your BIG CHANCE-- to come eat cake, hang out with me, and buy a copy of my lovely and amazing new book, "CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life"! And I will even sign it and draw a unicorn in it, if you'd like.

This is one of the best spots for cake in DC, so even if you have no interest in seeing me, come for the cake. I'll understand.

But wait, there's more! GIVEAWAYS And some sweet items to give away, like notecards and maybe even a pair or two of my cupcake-unicorn-robot socks.

Missing this would be a big mistake.

Here's the 411: Tuesday, November 15 · 7:00pm - 9pm; Location Baked and Wired, 1052 Thomas Jefferson NW Washington, District of Columbia. Online here.


But wait, there's more! Book signings always make me feel like giving away a copy of my book, so here's the giveaway of the week. Even if you're not in the DC area, you can enter to win! Simply visit the Baked & Wired website and tell me what sweet treat you'd most love to try from their menu. Enter this in the comments section below or on the Event page, and next Sunday at noon PST, I'll choose one winner at random!

Tour de Sweet: CakeSpy in Baltimore on November 14!

Guess what, Baltimore? You thought you were sweet, but you're about to get SWEETER.

That's right: CakeSpy's Tour de Sweet is coming to town! As I said on the Facebook event page,

OMG. This is your chance--your BIG CHANCE-- to come eat cake, hang out with me, and buy a copy of my lovely and amazing new book, "CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life"! And I will even sign it and draw a unicorn in it, if you'd like.

Forget John Waters, Baltimore's all about the BAKED GOOD! And you'll find some very tasty ones at Dangerously Delicious.

But wait, there's more! GIVEAWAYS And some sweet items to give away, like notecards and maybe even a pair or two of my cupcake-unicorn-robot socks.

Missing this would be a big mistake.

See you there, from 6-8 pm! Location stats: Dangerously Delicious 2839 O'Donnell St Baltimore, Maryland; online here.

Tour de Sweet: CakeSpy in Philadelphia on November 12!

The Tour de Sweet is keeping on keeping on, sweeties!

BAKED was totally awesome (read one sweet account of it here), but now it's time to head to Philadelphia!

The next stop, on Saturday, will be Bredenbeck's Bakery! As you may recall, I have visited this sweet spot before, and adored it. I think you will, too. 

Here's the 411 straight from Bredenbeck's:

Last winter, we received an undercover visit from CakeSpy, a.k.a. Jessie Oleson. She visited Philadelphia on a cold, snowy weekend, and hit a few local bakeries to sample goodies. She stealthily popped in and out of our shop so fast, we didn't even know she was here. (Read the review.)

This time, we'll be able to roll out the red carpet in anticipation because we know when she's coming! That's right: CakeSpy will be here signing copies of her new cookbook, "Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life."

When: Saturday, November 12 from 1-3 p.m.
Where: Here! 8126 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118

In honor of her visit, we'll be whipping up some of the yummy recipes featured in CakeSpy's cookbook, including:
Red Velvet Cake Shakes
Cupcakes Stuffed With Chocolate Chip Dough
Rainbow Cake
Rainbow Cookies
Cinnamon Rolls Stuffed with Cookie Dough
Ginger-bread Pudding

If you haven't yet made your plans to attend her book signing, do so. A signed cookbook: what a perfect holiday gift for yourself, or your favorite sweet lover!

Well, I think they pretty much covered it! Find the Facebook invite here, and find the address and directions via the Bredenbeck's site!

Sweet Times: CakeSpy Book Signing at Teacake Bake Shop

All photos: Pink Buttercream PhotographyI could simply tell you that the CakeSpy Tour de Sweet stop at Teacake Bake Shop in Burlingame totally ruled, but really, it's far more effective to show you photo proof, so here goes. All of these gorgeous photos were taken by Agnes Hsu, owner of Teacake Bake Shop!

Click here for all my tour dates.

So, first, I arrived, and was greeted by this amazing sight: pink cupcakes with pretty sprinkles...and toppers featuring MY artwork! 

You'd better believe I ate one of those cupcakes.

...but I paused to draw a unicorn or two in people's books.

oh, did I mention I have a book out? It's called CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. It looks great with flowers.

...but it also looks good with wrappers.

...oh, let me pause to sign another book here.

I'll also do this bloggy photo-taking of food thing.

and talk to some people. "Oh, you like cupcakes, too?"

...oh, I know! I'm so funny.

...but wait, who's this? A dessert celebrity! Me and Anita Chu!

..."you know, cupcakes taste better when you buy the book."

oh, and here's a cute one with me and my sister Bridget. We can't not wear showpiece glasses, apparently.

and here's me with Agnes Hsu, the owner of Teacake Bake Shop! Go see her shop and eat her cupcakes, and soon!

For more about Teacake Bake Shop, visit their site. To buy my book, click here. Click here for all my tour dates.